How CIOs can successfully build a mobile infrastructure with C-suite collaboration
When it comes to building a mobile infrastructure, enterprises’ question is not if, but when. The continued proliferation of mobile devices and bring-your-own-device practices within the workplace make it necessary for all businesses to modernize their infrastructure to support increased mobile use or risk their competitiveness and security.
An essential component to the success of any IT infrastructure project is the support and buy-in of C-suite executives. When leadership buy-in and support is present, strategic initiatives succeed at a much higher rate, reports the Project Management Institute (PMI).
Yet getting leadership involved is one of the biggest challenges for chief information officers (CIOs). This is partly because it can be difficult for executives to find the time to engage. According to PMI, executives are actively engaged on strategic IT projects at only 50 percent of companies. Another reason is a lack of synergy between CIOs and the rest of the C-suite in how they approach and view the value of IT projects. Fortunately, there are ways to bridge the divide.
Align the Project With Business Priorities
“Almost half of CEOs rate their CIOs negatively in terms of understanding the business and understanding how to apply IT in new ways to the business,” reports Harvard Business Review. This view by executives underscores the need for CIOs to engage strategically rather than tactically with C-suite executives.
Conversations with executives should be centered on how building out the company’s mobile infrastructure will deliver business value. Emphasize the ways the project can increase productivity, simplify business processes and promote innovation.
Additionally, point out missed opportunity costs that could result from staying with the status quo. The lack of a mobile strategy and the infrastructure to support it will likely limit a business’s ability to deliver a high-quality experience for customers or sustain its competitive advantage in the long term. Security is another issue that, when not addressed, may have associated costs such as data loss or a lack of regulatory compliance.
With a better understanding of how a mobile infrastructure will add value to the business and limit security risks, executives can weigh in on which priorities are highest and help determine which end user needs are most important to meet. This input can then help guide the technical aspects of the project, providing clarity about the best application platform or the right security and authentication framework.
Focus on the Ability to Generate New Revenue Streams
Executives are concerned about the bottom line and maintain a high interest in generating new growth. To support investment in any technology project, the C-suite will want to know both the costs and return on investment. Take the time to outline not just the budget and ROI of the project, but also specific ways a mobile infrastructure can generate new revenue streams. Depending on the line of business, opportunities may include new sources of data for insights that drive growth, streaming or the development of more customer-centric apps that increase loyalty and customer satisfaction.
Once opportunities are identified in collaboration with the C-suite, develop a strategy to leverage the infrastructure in ways that will achieve growth in areas important to executives, whether it’s the development of employee or customer-facing apps or how to better harness data and drive actionable insights from it.
Identify How the Project Will Improve the Customer Experience
Another mobile infrastructure benefit is the ability to create customer-centric apps. These apps offer an easy and convenient way to maintain 24/7 relationships with customers. They can be used to provide notifications about special offers or promotions while also offering customers added convenience for scheduling appointments or purchasing products. When implemented correctly, apps can also boost customer loyalty and increase referral business. Chief marketing officers, in particular, should be supportive of initiatives that improve a business’s ability to interact with customers.
Executives’ guidance on which app features and performance levels they desire will, in turn, help determine the best application or platform for achieving optimal performance while keeping maintenance and development costs as low as possible.
Collaboration Breeds Success
When the business value of a project is apparent and executives understand how the technology can be leveraged for business innovation and transformation, they are more likely to support it and collaborate. Collaboration helps better define the mobile strategy, which will ultimately determine the technical requirements. The end result is a mobile infrastructure that meets both the tactical and strategic needs of a business.